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Amy Odell Exits Hearst

Odell, who oversees Cosmopolitan.com, is leaving the publishing house and will be replaced by Marie Claire's site director Jessica Pels.
Amy Odell | Source: Hearst
By
  • Chantal Fernandez

NEW YORK, United States — Amy Odell, editor of Hearst-owned Cosmopolitan.com, announced in an email to staff on Thursday that she is leaving after a four-and-a-half year stint. A spokesperson for Hearst confirmed that Jessica Pels, MarieClaire.com's digital director since 2014, will take over the position.

"I am proud of all that we did to make the brand one of the biggest, most influential websites for young women," wrote Odell, adding that under her tenure, Cosmopolitan's website tripled its audience to 36 million monthly unique visitors, amassed a video audience of 300 million per month and launched on Snapchat Discover where it counts an audience of 13 million subscribers. "We developed a signature voice that blends humor, wit, and brains. I am proud that awards from Adweek, GLAAD, and others acknowledged those efforts," she said. "But mostly, I am proud that we approached the challenge of creating media for young women with the assumption that those women are smart."

Odell was rumoured to be a candidate for the editor-in-chief role at Condé Nast-owned Glamour, but the position ultimately went to CNN's Samantha Barry. She is also said to have been in talks to take over Cosmopolitan's print product, although that move never materialised. In 2016, Odell took on oversight of the editorial strategy for Redbookmag.com until Good Housekeeping site director Kristine Brabson assumed responsibility for it in 2017.

Odell said on Twitter that she plans to pursue other projects, one of which is writing a second book. In 2015 she published "Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry," about her experiences as a young woman in the fashion industry. Prior to Cosmopolitan, Odell was an editor at Buzzfeed and a writer at New York Magazine's The Cut.

“We thank Amy for her leadership and dedication, which helped make Cosmopolitan.com the go-to site for millions of young women,” said Kate Lewis, senior vice president and editorial director of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, in a statement. “She diversified content to include a wide range of topics, led an ambitious push into video, expanded the brand’s reach and developed talented teams to maximize content across platforms—some of which did not exist when she took the helm. We wish her the best of luck with her new book and all of her future endeavors.”

Pels assumes the new role immediately, and a successor at MarieClaire.com will be named in the near future. "From the beginning, Jessica elevated MarieClaire.com with style and beauty coverage that’s fresh, fun, and just the right side of surprising and bold, coupled with news-making features that push forward a cultural conversation," said Lewis. "From profiles of the women who guard our nuclear weapons, to an essay on feminism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to a look at the growing trend of young men wearing makeup, Jessica infused MarieClaire.com with passionate storytelling, and she will bring her unique energy and creativity to Cosmopolitan.com."

“I am absolutely thrilled to step into this incredible role,” said Pels in a statement. “Amy and her impressive team have done hefty work building this brand into the digital powerhouse it is today, and I could not be more honored to usher it into its next phase. It’s such an exciting time for young women, who have more power and more agency than ever before—Cosmopolitan.com will continue to grow with them and lead the conversation every step of the way.”

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